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Next: Identifying and treating the brain roots of mental illness

face_brainMen­tal Ill­ness – One Treat­ment to Cure Them All, One Net­work to Bind Them? (Brain­Blog­ger):

Imag­ine: A cure all for ALL men­tal ill­ness­es… sounds illog­i­cal, per­haps impos­si­ble, some­thing straight out of fan­ta­sy, no? Well, at the Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit, Mon­i­tor­ing & Enhanc­ing Brain Health in the Per­va­sive Neu­ro­science Era, where pre­sent­ing cut­ting-edge inno­v­a­tive research was the norm, I was lucky to be wit­ness to a tru­ly tan­ta­liz­ing talk by psy­chol­o­gist Dr. Madeleine Good­kind that will like­ly change your per­spec­tive.

As Dr. Good­kind explains, even with­in one men­tal ill­ness, there are vast­ly diverse com­bi­na­tions of symp­toms and respons­es to treat­ment, as well as comor­bity (i.e. shared symp­toms) with many oth­er dis­or­ders…

So instead of focus­ing on symp­toms, Dr. Good­kind and cowork­ers looked to the source of the riv­er and asked:

…can we cut across psy­chi­atric diag­no­sis and iden­ti­fy brain areas impli­cat­ed in men­tal ill­ness­es that could be a tar­get for future treat­ments?”

The result? They iden­ti­fied:

…three regions of the brain that com­mon­ly have decreased vol­umes across psy­chi­atric ill­ness­es, the left and right bilat­er­al ante­ri­or insu­la, and the dor­sal ante­ri­or cin­gu­late cortex…I think that the treat­ments that are symp­tom spe­cif­ic are impor­tant, but there are under­ly­ing brain deficits that may be present that we can address first to make treat­ment more effec­tive.”

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